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  Quick Links for September 2020

An appreciation of Flash games and how they shaped the gaming industry. Adobe is ending support for Flash Player at the end of 2020.  flashgamehistory.com
"Loose Ends is a literary supercut made entirely out of last lines from 152 science fiction and fantasy novels." It functions as both "short story and data analysis".  wired.com
Let Go or Be Dragged. "Why are you now somewhere you never wanted to go? How did you get here? Why are you bleeding from your soul? It's because your belief about letting go kept you being dragged."  psychologytoday.com
Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning is an upcoming book in which Tom Vanderbilt teaches himself 5 new skills (chess, singing, surfing, drawing, and juggling) and rediscovers the joy of learning.  bookshop.org
The pandemic has revealed the limitations of America's cult of individual freedom (vs collective action), stranding its citizens with few good choices. "Our only liberty is to choose among a menu of awful options."  vox.com
Tips for avoiding Covid-19 infections indoors: avoid unnecessary exposure, open windows, filter the air, and smartly increase airflow w/ fans. Avoid gimmicks like "air cleaners" and UV lights. "The reality is, it's a time for the basics."  nytimes.com
More than 1.1 million people have already voted in the 2020 US general election. In states reporting party affiliation (FL, IA, NC), participation is 54% Dem and 18% Rep (it's usually the other way around).  electproject.github.io
A new anthology out next week: The Fragile Earth: Writing from the New Yorker on Climate Change.  bookshop.org
Andy Baio responds to a reader who's disappointed by the uptick of political content on his personal website. I've gotten many emails like this over the past few years; Andy's response is a good one.  waxy.org
Listening to Ella Fitzgerald lovingly impersonate Louis Armstrong in this clip is just so wonderful.  twitter.com
The NY Times obtained two decades of Trump's tax returns and they show exactly what we already knew: chronic losses, huge debt, and tax avoidance. I have a hard time believing these revelations will matter to voters.  nytimes.com
Spreadsheet comparing Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums lists from 2003, 2012, and 2020.  docs.google.com
The Marshall Project and Vox take a close look at US crime statistics over the past several months. "Something to know about crime trends: They are shaped by police action and inaction."  themarshallproject.org
From an American living there, a report on how Vietnam beat back a second wave of Covid-19 infections. They used localized lockdowns, test/trace/isolate everywhere else, and the gov't has been clear and transparent in their actions and goals.  medium.com
"Don't think of it as the warmest month of August in California in the last century. Think of it as one of the coolest months of August in California in the next century."  twitter.com
Governor Newsom announced that California will ban the sale of gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks in 2035. Good news but make it 2025 and then you'd have something.  apnews.com
Tonight at 8pm ET: a livestreamed recording of Prince's New Year's Eve Benefit Concert from 1987 at Paisley Park. Prince fan @anildash says: "An amazing show, with perhaps Prince's best live band...and *then* Miles Davis shows up."  youtube.com
Super-interesting perspective on debate as a "technique that transforms a potential exchange of knowledge into a tool of exclusion & oppression".  twitter.com
Fig/wasp codependent evolution is fascinating. "There are more than seven hundred species of fig, and each one has its own species of wasp. When you eat a dried fig, you're probably chewing wasp mummies, too."  newyorker.com
The presidents of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine have released a joint statement that they are "alarmed by political interference in science amid [the] pandemic".  nationalacademies.org
Remembering the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in photos.  theatlantic.com
DIY Paper Ruth Bader Ginsburg Protest Collars.  facebook.com
The World's Most Expensive Potato Chips Will Run You $15 Per Chip. The phrase "hand-picked" comes up more than once in the description...  mossandfog.com
In this interview on feminism & trans rights, Judith Butler puts on a mini masterclass about how to effectively answer questions that she thinks are terrible.  newstatesman.com
A collection of books with unusual but brilliant structures  austinkleon.com
Turkey is planning on building a canal on the other side of Istanbul from the Bosporus, effectively turning the city into an island.  bigthink.com
Scenes from movies where characters are listening to music with headphones but they're listening to podcasts instead. The Baby Driver / Serial one is so good.  twitter.com
The Overlooked History of Race Barriers in the United States. Physical segregation walls and race barriers were built in cities & towns around America to separate white neighbors from Black neighborhoods and many of them still exist today.  placesjournal.org
Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People. "Civvl aims to make it easy for landlords to hire process servers and eviction agents as gig workers."  vice.com
William Gibson asks what the collective weight is of all the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the world. Various guesstimates are presented in the thread; a rough consensus seems to be on the order of grams?  twitter.com
Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be the first woman ever to lie in state at the US Capitol.  usatoday.com
The Atlantic storm season has been so busy that they've run out of names for tropical storms & hurricanes and have started in on Greek letters.  twitter.com
Join me and the 1000 other backers in supporting The Brick House Cooperative, "a journalist-owned, wolf-proof home for independent media" from veterans of the Awl, Splinter, Gawker, Deadspin, and other like-minded publications.  kickstarter.com
The Root 100, a list of the most influential African Americans in 2020. Lots of bold-faced names (Nikole Hannah-Jones, Yamiche Alcindor, Ibram X. Kendi, Issa Rae) but spend some time getting to know the folks farther down the list too.  interactives.theroot.com
Back in early April, the USPS had a plan to send free face masks to every household in America. The White House blocked it. This would have saved many lives and prevented many severe infections.  twitter.com
Former model Amy Dorris says that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in 1997. This makes at least 2 dozen women to come forward with sexual assault and rape accusations against Trump.  theguardian.com
These maps based on recent research shows how profoundly climate change will alter the United States to make large swaths of the country unsuitable for human habitation in the next 20-40 years.  projects.propublica.org
Open Culture, always excellent, has been absolutely fantastic lately.  openculture.com
For the first time since the Great Depression, more than 50% of Americans aged 18-29 live at home with their parents.  axios.com
The American Ornithological Society just renamed the McCown's Longspur as the Thick-billed Longspur and faces pressure to reevaluate other names. "You shouldn't just put an apostrophe and call it your bird – that's not how this should be working."  audubon.org
New survey: "Almost two-thirds of young American adults do not know that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, and more than one in 10 believe Jews caused the Holocaust."  theguardian.com
James Fallows: "The press hasn't broken its most destructive habits when it comes to covering Donald Trump", including both-sides-ism, covering elections as horse races, and focusing on spectacle.  theatlantic.com
"The effects of global warming in the Arctic are so severe that the region is shifting to a different climate, one characterized less by ice and snow and more by open water and rain, scientists said Monday."  nytimes.com
A great piece by model Emily Ratajkowski about the ownership of one's image. "The problem with justice, or even the pursuit of justice, in the U.S. is that it costs. A lot."  thecut.com
A very entertaining story about finding out the personal info of a former Australian PM just from an Instagram boarding pass pic. "If Tony Abbott's passport number is in this treasure trove of computer spaghetti, maybe there's wayyyyy more..."  mango.pdf.zone
Months into the pandemic, some consumer goods are still difficult to find. "The coronavirus has eaten away at the entire system by which things are bought and sold in America, and few signs of improvement are on the horizon."  theatlantic.com
David Byrne's American Utopia is coming to HBO in the form of a "concert film" directed by Spike Lee. Friends who saw the Broadway version of this said it was amazing.  openculture.com
For decades, the oil, gas, and plastics companies have sold the public on the idea of recycling plastics knowing that it wouldn't work, "all while making billions of dollars selling the world new plastic".  npr.org
Selling these ineffectual, poor-fitting paper masks (even with a disclaimer) is irresponsible and dangerous. Please stop this @moo.  moo.com
For the first time in the 175-year history of Scientific American, the magazine is endorsing a presidential candidate: Joe Biden. "The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people."  scientificamerican.com
"It is unclear what rich people are for. [...] The people who have the most also tend to demand the most, and on a level that ordinary people can't or won't demand things."  defector.com
Craig Mod gets all nerdy about ventilation, an essential pandemic activity for whisking potentially deadly aerosols and droplets from your home or business.  theatlantic.com
The Villeneuve Scale of Air Pollution, from the clear skies of Arrival to the dusty orange of Blade Runner 2049.  twitter.com
A poem from Caroline Randall Williams: Other Ways to Say Black Face.  theatlantic.com
If you're wondering why the sun is so dim today in the Midwest and Northeast, that's smoke from the climate change-fueled wildfires in the West, thousands of miles away.  twitter.com
A public service announcement from Oscar the Grouch: Wear a Mask!  thekidshouldseethis.com
A woman surfed the biggest wave in the world this year – 73.5 feet high – but you probably didn't hear about it due to some judging technicalities.  theatlantic.com
SARS-CoV-2 is mutating much more slowly than other RNA viruses – no major mutations have shown up so far. The virus infects humans so easily that there's little evolutionary pressure to change.  nytimes.com
Eight people in the Indonesian province of East Java were ordered to dig graves at the local cemetery as community service for not wearing face masks.  thejakartapost.com
This webapp called One More Try automatically plays back a delayed recording of whatever you're doing (skateboarding, tennis), "shrinking the feedback loop so you can practice faster and better".  onemoretry.app
On the "gentrification font" (Neutraface and similar typefaces). "Sleek sans serif numbers are now the official look of neighborhood change."  vice.com
The Sturgis Biker Rally Did Not Cause 266,796 Cases of COVID-19. "While some underlying factors do predict spread, there is a high degree of randomness, and small disturbances (like winds) can cause huge variation across time and space."  slate.com
Your gentle reminder that @kottke has an official daily podcast now. "In just 15 minutes, the coolest stuff that happened in the world today." Check it out here.  link.chtbl.com
Your Phone Wasn't Built for the Apocalypse. "Images and videos have never captured the world as it really is — they simply create a new understanding of that world from the light that emits from and reflects off of objects."  theatlantic.com
A guide to effective political giving for progressives during these last two months before the November elections: give as soon as possible, give directly to candidates, give to down-ballot candidates.  idlewords.com
From Gregory Stanton, a leading expert on genocide: QAnon is a Nazi Cult, Rebranded.  justsecurity.org
A trailer for a documentary called My Octopus Teacher. "A filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest."  youtube.com
Imagined commercials from brands responding to increasingly dire circumstances. "As the US becomes a dictatorship, Subway is here for you. That's right, we're bringing back the $5 Footlong."  twitter.com
Trump privately knew the pandemic was serious early on but deliberately downplayed it in public, leading to hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths. (Also bad: Bob Woodward knew too and kept it a secret to preserve sales of his eventual book.)  twitter.com
Congrats to @austinkleon for 15 years of blogging! "This is my home online. It's where you can find me. If you want to know me, knock on the door, and I'll let you in."  austinkleon.com
Cory Doctorow is selling the DRM-free audiobook version of his new book directly to listeners, bypassing Audible and their DRM. "The idea that a company gets to decide how you use your property, after you buy it from them? Fuck that."  kickstarter.com
"After two decades in a filing cabinet and three next to a parking lot in Baltimore", Dorothy Parker's ashes return to NYC.  newyorker.com
I cannot get over all the photos of the orange & red skies on the west coast today. Apocalyptic is the only way to put it.  twitter.com
"The repeated and prolonged failure of mainstream news outlets to include basic climate science facts in extreme weather coverage is an abdication of their core responsibility."  heated.world
Public health officials say that voting in person this fall carries relatively low risk, akin to that of grocery shopping. (Here's the thing though: in my experience, no one seems to know or care what "six feet apart" means?)  theatlantic.com
I needed to see something good today: a guy finds out a neighbor kid is biking unbidden in his driveway and draws increasingly elaborate chalk racetracks for him to use.  youtube.com
We're All Socially Awkward Now. Those of us who have limited our in-person social contact over the past months are "subtly but inexorably losing our facility and agility in social situations".  nytimes.com
"We Survivors of Authoritarianism Have a Message America Needs to Hear: This is Exactly How it Happens, and It's Happening Here."  eand.co
"Another underappreciated part of the USPS? Its exceptional design." The Post Office has a long legacy of getting top designers to produce great work.  fastcompany.com
No, The Government Did Not Break Up A Child Sex Trafficking Ring In Georgia. "Simple headlines obscure the complex realities of abuse, sex work and the real threats to American children."  huffpost.com
Trevor Noah: "Your Blackness as a person is never questioned in failure, but in success it gets put under the microscope."  twitter.com
Civil War generals as Muppets  twitter.com
By partially blocking intake of SARS-CoV-2 particles, wearing face masks "might help reduce the severity of disease and ensure that a greater proportion of new infections are asymptomatic".  nejm.org
The trailer for season four of The Handmaid's Tale (almost a documentary at this point...)  youtube.com
Black parents' feedback about online schooling: "Our kids can learn at their own pace, less stressed, kids aren't getting in trouble, more parent interaction with teachers, can address microagressions children face head on, no bullying..."  twitter.com
According to this analysis, last month's Sturgis Rally (w/ 460,000 largely unmasked and undistanced attendees) resulted in ~260,000 Covid-19 cases nationwide, "generated public health costs of approx. $12.2B", and will result in 100s of deaths.  ftp.iza.org
If you're looking for reading material, I made a list of the books I've read over the past year or so (or am currently reading) on @Bookshop_Org.  bookshop.org
An online museum of WinAmp skins  skins.webamp.org
Magic Mike without music.  facebook.com
In the upcoming Super Mario Bros 35 for the Switch, you play the classic SMB game against 34 opponents (a la Tetris 99).  theverge.com
LIGO has detected a surprising event: the collision of two black holes that are each too big to have formed by the collapse of a star. "The black holes in this event aren't supposed to exist!"  nytimes.com
COVID-19 Can Wreck Your Heart, Even if You Haven't Had Any Symptoms. This will probably lead to many premature deaths over the next several decades.  scientificamerican.com
Very excited that my pal Brian Bartels' book, The United States of Cocktails, is coming out next week! "This book includes more than 100 recipes alongside spirited analysis of each state's unique contributions to cocktail culture."  bookshop.org
Whoa this cooking video with incredible over-the-top production and special effects  tiktok.com
Back in March, police in Rochester, NY murdered Daniel Prude. They put a hood over his head and suffocated him until he laid lifeless in the street. DEFUND THE POLICE. We don't need armed men showing up to deal with mental health crises!  bbc.com
"Some cops give their friends and family union-issued 'courtesy cards' to help get them out of minor infractions. The cards embody everything wrong with modern policing." Every time I read about these cards, I get more angry.  vice.com
Wow, the Tournament of Books is doing a winners tournament, featuring each of the winning books from the last 16 years (like Cloud Atlas, Normal People, Underground Railroad, and Wolf Hall).  themorningnews.org
Isabel Wilkerson talks with Larry Wilmore about her new book, Caste.  theringer.com
Great piece by Elamin Abdelmahmoud: Why Chadwick Boseman's Death Hurts So Much. "To concern yourself with who your heroes are is to construct a story about who you are. Boseman transformed himself into a portal for these questions."  buzzfeednews.com
Amazon drivers are hanging their smartphones in trees outside Whole Foods to get the jump on rival drivers for delivery jobs.  bloomberg.com
Netflix is doing a TV series based on The Three-Body Problem book series. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (Game of Thrones) and True Blood's Alexander Woo will direct. Author Liu Cixin and translator Ken Liu will serve as consulting producers.  variety.com
A report on a small community in rural Maine that was relatively unaffected by Covid-19 until a wedding resulted in an outbreak of 120+ cases (prob originating from a single guest), including the death of someone who wasn't even at the wedding.  bostonglobe.com
New airflow study indicates that "face shields and masks with exhale valves may not be as effective as regular face masks in restricting the spread of aerosolized droplets".  aip.scitation.org
I am an unabashed fan of Noah Kalina's chickens (and Marcel the rooster!), so of course I immediately bought Tiny Flock, a book of photographs he's taken of his flock.  postpostmodern.co.uk
August 2020 Archives »